Limiting God

27 August 2017 AM – Mark 6:1-6 – Mr17 – Scott Childs

Introduction: (Read text). Wouldn’t it be disappointing if when you get to heaven you discovered a large room full of unopened packages that have your name on it? When you ask what they are, you are told they are things God had for you but because of your lack of faith, God could not give them to you. I don’t know if that will happen, but it could.

The people in Jesus’ hometown rejected Him and the message He preached. Because they lacked faith, they limited the number of miracles He could do for them.

Transition: In our text today, I find four downward steps that lead to limiting God.

The 1st step in limiting God is …

1.        Questioning Jesus’ Credibility

a.         The people were astonished (v.2).
1)         Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, evidently in Nazareth.
2)         As the people heard Him speak they were astonished. This is the same word that Mark used in (Mark 1:22) “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.” The word describes having the breath knocked out of you. Thus, it means to be struck with astonishment or amazement.
3)         In Mark 1:22, the astonishment led to praise, but here the astonishment led to critical questions.
b.         They asked three critical questions (v.2)
1)         Where did this man get these things? Jesus had never studied under the rabbis. He had not gone to a theological school. Yet, they could not deny that His preaching was amazing and full of clear explanation and application.
2)         What is this wisdom that he has? They could see that Jesus had a wisdom or supreme intelligence that other teachers did not have. What was it? Where did He get it?
3)         How can he do such mighty works? They had heard that Jesus was doing many mighty works or powerful deeds. The mention His hands doing these works implies that perhaps news had reached them that He had taken Jairus’ daughter by the hand and raised her from the dead.
4)         They did not ask these questions in awe or in honour of Jesus. Instead, they asked critically to question and criticise Jesus. Thus, the first step in limiting God is to question His credibility.
O  One of the devil’s primary tools for this is evolution which denies Biblical creation, the existence of God, and the authority of Scripture. On the other hand, the incredible design of every creature and substance in nature requires an intelligent designer and powerfully supports biblical Creation, the existence of God and the authority of the Bible.

The 2nd step in limiting God is …

2.        Rejecting Jesus’ Divinity

a.         They asked, “Is not this the carpenter?” (v.3)
1)         Joseph had been the local carpenter in Nazareth.
2)         Joseph had taught Jesus the carpentry trade. For about 15 years, Jesus had worked as a carpenter in Nazareth. Being perfect, He never made a mistake. His workmanship was flawless. He was always fair and honest.
3)         Likely, Jesus had built things for many of those who now criticised Him. They knew that He was a carpenter, but they knew nothing of his divinity.
b.         They knew Jesus’ family but not His origin (v.3)
1)         His critics knew Jesus’ mother and siblings.
a)         No mention is made of Joseph. Evidently, he had already died.
b)         They knew Mary.
c)         They knew Jesus’ four half-brothers James and Joses and Judas and Simon.
d)         They knew Jesus’ half-sisters of which He had at least two since the word is plural.
2)         Public opinion was that Jesus was born of fornication. (John 8:41) “Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.”
3)         If Mary had told family and friends about the miracle virgin birth of Jesus, it seems that no one believed her. They rejected any possibility of Jesus being God or the Messiah. He grew up as a carpenter not as a rabbi or as a king.
c.          They were offended (v.3)
1)         The word translated “offended” refers either to tripping and falling or to being caught in a snare or trap.
2)         Those who know the human side of Jesus but not His divine side were caught in a trap by what they knew about Jesus. All they could see was His human side as a carpenter and son of Mary.
O  Many religious people today deny that Jesus is God. They call him a secondary god, or an angel, or a good prophet, but not God Almighty. By rejecting Jesus’ divinity as God the Son, they too are limiting God. A person who denies that Jesus is God cannot be saved.

The 3rd step in limiting God is …

3.        Forfeiting Jesus’ Blessings

a.         Jesus told them the problem (v.4)
1)         He claimed to be a prophet.
2)         He noted that prophets are honoured everywhere except in their home area.
3)         This is why it is very difficult for a preacher to pastor the church he grew up in. It can be done, but it usually is a difficult task.
b.         Jesus could only bless them a little (v.5)
1)         Jesus wanted to do mighty works in Nazareth. He wanted to be a blessing to His home folks. He wanted His home people to believe on Him. He wants all men to be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4) “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
2)         But because of their unbelief, Jesus was not able to do even one mighty work in Nazareth. The word “no” in the Greek is emphatic – not able, not one.
3)         Jesus was only able to heal a few weak and sickly folk. This was because of their unbelief. They lacked faith.
O  If we lack faith, we too are going to forfeit Jesus’ blessing in our lives. God delights in helping those who fully trust in Him.

The 4th step in limiting God is …

4.        Losing Jesus’ Presence

a.         Jesus marvelled at their unbelief (v.6)
1)         Another word for “marvelled” is wonder. Since Jesus knows all things, this wonder was not a surprise or shock. It must rather have been a sad disappointment.
2)         Rather than rebuking them for their unbelief, Jesus simply moved on. He left town.
b.         Jesus went to other villages teaching (v.6)
1)         He went round about the villages teaching. The idea here is that he travelled in a circuit from village to village.
2)         The implication is that Nazareth missed out because they rejected Him. They lacked faith so He moved on to others who had faith.
3)         Today, many lack faith in Christ and as a result they are missing out on His salvation that can save them from hell. Salvation is only by faith and it is only in Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” The Lord does not want any to perish, but He does not force Himself on anyone.
O  As a Christian, I often wonder how many of God’s blessings and answers to prayer I have missed because of my lack of faith.

Conclusion: Review main points. When we lack faith, we limit what God wants to do in our lives. Here are seven things you can do to increase your faith. 1) Read the Bible daily (Ro 10:17). 2) Study Bible heroes (Heb 11). “By faith… Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Israel, Joshua, Rahab”. 3) Ask God to increase your faith (Lu 17:5). 4) Pray specifically (Jas 4:2). 5) Keep a record of answered prayer. 6) Read biographies of Christians of faith. 7) Come this evening to hear the message Faith Fortifying Facts.

If you have not received Christ by faith, trust Him today.

Song: Praise Him! Praise Him! 442